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Disparities in vision health linked to access challenges, study finds

A new study shows significant disparities in vision function among Black, Hispanic and poorer adolescents (Source: “Lack of Access Appears Tied to Disparities in Vision Health,” U.S. News, Sept. 16).

New research suggests a lack of access to vision care services has contributed to racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in visual function among Black, Hispanic and poorer adolescents.

Findings of a new study published last month in JAMA Ophthalmology reveals approximately 16% of Black and 18% of Mexican American adolescents had worse than 20/40 vision in their better-seeing eye compared to 7% of white adolescents. After correcting for visual impairment, 3% of Black and 3% of Mexican American adolescents still had worse than 20/40 vision compared to 1% of white adolescents.

Study co-author Dr. Idsin Oke, a clinical scientist and pediatric ophthalmologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, said the findings highlight the importance of addressing barriers that could hinder access to vision care services for racial and ethnic minority youth.